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Palisade ALA serves community, veterans near and far PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 20:13

Members of the Palisade American Legion Auxiliary met last week to assemble care packages for combat and wounded soldiers. ALA members who made up the care packages are (back from left) Shirley Ferguson, Ruthie Bridgmon, (front from left) Karen Steinbeck, Jo Ann Ward, Iris Barnes, and Josie Lytle, president. Not pictured, Frankie Miller.

By Sheri Hink

The Wauneta Breeze


Palisade’s John L. Sullivan American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) has been busy providing services to veterans, their families and the community since the early 1920s. The group, like the Palisade American Legion, was named for the only Palisade resident who died in World War I, John L. Sullivan.

“Our work has always been on behalf of the veterans and their families,” says Jo Ann Ward, a long-time member of the ALA.

The group boasts over 72 members that live coast to coast. They also have 11 junior members (under 18 years of age) that help with many of ALA’s activities.

Rosemary ‘Josie’ Lytle serves as president of the local unit. Shirley Ferguson serves as first vice president. Helen ‘Frankie’ Miller as second vice president and treasurer and Ward serves as secretary for the unit.


Service to combat soldiers

The Palisade ALA completes several projects and activities each year. Their current project, comfort ditty bags for combat soldiers and wounded soldiers, was wrapped up last week.

Five members of the group spent an evening preparing bags consisting of various comfort items such as razors, toothpaste, tooth brush, soap, shampoo, deodorant and combs for these soldiers in need.

The idea behind these ditty bags is that when wounded soldiers are in a medical facility here or overseas they will at least have something for the first few days they are there. Injured soldiers receive travel size toiletry items.

Soldiers serving in the field receive larger quantities of the same sort of items to make their stay in the field a little more comfortable while they are there.

The group put together 17 bags for wounded soldiers and 11 bags for combat soldiers. In total, they put approximately $300 of items into the bags.

The bags are sent to Tennessee for distribution to soldiers who need them.


Service for veterans

Each spring you will see ALA members out distributing poppies. The poppies they distribute are made by veterans staying in veterans homes. The money raised from poppy distribution is used for veteran affairs and rehabilitation.

ALA members are active in advocating for veterans rights and needs at the local, state and national levels. They regularly write letters to Senators, Congressmen and Representatives on behalf of veterans and issues that impact veterans.

Each Memorial Day the group puts white crosses and flags on every veteran’s grave.

To celebrate Veterans Day, the ALA members host a free chicken and noodle dinner for veterans and their spouses. Last year they served 53 at their annual dinner.


Service to children and youth

The Palisade ALA is recognized as a leader in their services to children, youth and the community. They have won numerous awards for their services to children, youth, education and community.

The Palisade ALA gives several scholarships to dependents of veterans. The scholarships are open to those attending technical schools or a four year program. Many of these scholarships have been given for nursing in the past.

The group also works with the Wauneta ALA to sponsor two junior high school women from Wauneta Palisade Schools to attend Girls State each year.

Another of their youth projects is the Americanism project where students in grades five through 12 prepare essays on an assigned topic. The local winners of the contest go on to compete at the state level. State level winners are eligible to compete nationally.

April is children and youth month. During the month the ALA group gives book bags filled with school supplies to the school to be distributed to children who need them.

Every year the ALA honor the teachers and staff of the school with a small gift such as an apple, cookies, popcorn, or flowers.

The group contributes to the Child Miracle Network, an organization that provides hospitalization to all kids regardless of their family’s ability to pay for medical care. The Palisade Credit Union also contributes to the CMN.


Service to members

The group also provides services for their members. The Auxiliary has an emergency fund for members in need of temporary help due to a life-changing event such as divorce, job loss, death of a spouse or a natural disaster. The member in need applies for funds through the local ALA unit and the funding is provided through the state or national ALA. The local unit helps contribute to or matches the award.


Leadership and awards

The Palisade ALA has the designation of having one of its members serve as a Nebraska State President. Verna Bosley held the State office in 1949.

Currently, Jo Ann Ward is running for State Vice President and if elected she will take office in June.

The Palisade unit has had two Nebraska Women of the Year designees, Shirley Ferguson and Karen Steinbeck.

Within the American Legion Auxiliary there is a special category of members, Gold Star Members, who have lost a son, brother or husband in active service. The Palisade unit has one Gold Star Mother, Ulrike ‘Betsy’ Daniel and one Gold Star Sister, Margaret Rodgers.



It takes money to support all of these different projects and activities. For that reason, the Palisade ALA organizes several fundraisers throughout the year.

The community looks forward to the annual Memorial Day chicken dinner. This dinner is open to the public each Memorial Day and serves to provide the unit with funds necessary to support their activities.

This year, the group will also raffle off a handmade quilt at Pioneer Days this summer.


Series on local service organizations and clubs

This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting service organizations and community clubs in the Wauneta area. The purpose of the series is to inform the public of what local organizations are doing for the community and how they can help.

At the end of the series, Breeze readers will be asked to vote for their favorite organization or club. The organization or club receiving the most votes will be given a $50 donation to use towards the project of its choice.

Organizations and community clubs interested in being featured in the series should contact the Breeze at 308-394-5389 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 20:14